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Moore Press Conference Outside Nightclub Turns Heated When Owner Pulls Up

First District Councilwoman Denise Moore's press conference calling for "aggressive action" on state site selection laws for clubs following an early morning homicide was interrupted when the club's owner showed up. 

Patrick Moton, 24, was shot once through the head and multiple times in his mid-section and limbs in the alley behind the Dream Nightclub, 2205 SW Washington, around 3 a.m. Friday morning. He was the 24th person murdered in Peoria in 2019. That set a city record for homicides in a year. 

Moore held a press conference on the sidewalk outside the club, about a block away from her Minority Business Development Center, on Friday afternoon while flanked by South Side community and business leaders. At least two Peoria police squad cars were parked within sight. 

"When a city is handcuffed by the state of Illinois requirement that once there's site approval, there is nothing more that we can do, that needs to change. We need to have input in removing site approval," Moore said. "Site approval has nothing to do with the name of this bar. Site approval has nothing to do with the people who run this bar. Site approval has everything to do with the activity happening around this bar." 

The club is one of the few establishments in the city with a 4 a.m. liquor license. She didn't call for the nightclub's shutdown, but did say it needs to be moved from that location. 

Moore said the city's violence is not just a problem for people living on the South Side or in Peoria, but all of Central Illinois. 

"Everybody's a part of the village. The city's a part of the village. The police are part of a village. You all are a part of this village. It's not just the South Side. So anybody who thinks this is a South Side problem is fooling yourself," Moore said. "We can't say it was this kind of person that had this happen to them or this kind of person. It was a life. It was a life." 

But she said city leaders have told her there's nothing they can do. She called on everyone to contact their council member and Mayor Jim Ardis. And she called for people accusing her of grandstanding to do something. 

As Moore was taking questions from the press, Dream Nightclub owner Mailika Bracey pulled up in a white sedan. She got out of the vehicle and stood directly adjacent to Moore before cutting into the presser. 

Listen to part of the exchange between Denise Moore and Mailika Bracey.

Bracey said she works to make sure her business is safe. But she said her business often gets people coming in after other bars have closed. 

"We're doing everything we can. If we have a fight inside, we call the police immediately so that they can get out and so that the fight that transpired inside will not carry over to outside," Bracey said. "So at the end of the day, I just feel that we are sorry for everything and everybody that has been touched by what's going on down here. We just need help." 

At multiple points during Moore and Bracey's back-and-forth, community activist Terry Burnside asked them to "take the conversation offline." But Bracey declined to do so, saying it started online and needed to end online.  

Moore ended the press conference after a heated exchange with the Black Justice Project activist Chama St. Louis, who accompanied Bracey to the press conference. Moore and St. Louis then walked out of earshot towards SW Adams and continued their discussion for several minutes.

Bracey said after Moore left that she felt singled out by the press conference. She noted there haven't been similar events after other murders or shootings in Peoria. 

"If you want to stop the violence, then let's stop the violence. Don't just come down here to the club in the hood in the black community and try to blame us for things that are happening in our alley and our parking lot," Bracey said. "And it's never, thank God, happened in the inside, because we're doing everything we can to keep the violence out." 

Police arrested 20-year-old Tyrese Walker and 29-year-old Desmond Sanders for first degree murder, unlawful use of a firearm, and no FOID card in connection with Moton's death. Jasmine Walker, 29, was arrested for obstructing justice. They haven't yet appeared in court. 

Listen to the full press conference.

Moore Press Conference Outside Nightclub Turns Heated When Owner Pulls Up

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Dream Nightclub
Tim Shelley / WCBU /
Dream Nightclub

Tim Shelley is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.